No doubt you’ve noticed me spamming you these last few days with links to my charity fundraising page. This will be the last time, please read it…
If you’re anything like me, you may well be thinking “yeah, yeah, doing something that you enjoy & would probably have done anyway, then claiming some noble cause for it. I’m not falling for that”.
In a way, you’d be right. This has been an amazing experience for me, and one that I’m really glad to have had. And I could probably have found ways to raise the money that would involve me having slightly less fun.
But the end result has been that, through persuading and cajoling and haranguing, I (or rather you) have raised almost £1700 for one amazing charity. And that’s ALL for the charity: this isn’t one of those jollies where the cost of the trip comes out of the amount raised; I have paid my way in hotel bills and ferry fares, and right down to the energy bars & support van costs.
I URGE you to take a quick look at my chosen charity, and the amazing work they do – including running the UKs only refuge for young people under 16, by visiting their website at safeatlast.org.UK
And, if you can afford anything more to support this valuable work, even if it’s only a quid, then please help me end this weekend with a bang by donating on my justgiving page, or by texting “DANS95 £1″ to 70070. You know, we’re not all that far off raising £2000 together right now…
(Please share, if you feel so inclined)
On 14th February, 1993, Gill and I decided to spend the rest of our lives together.
Continue reading ‘Twenty’
I’m currently reading a book by the psychologist Daniel Kahneman, called Thinking Fast and Slow. Kahneman has been something of a hero of mine for over twenty years, since I first came across his work during my psychlogy degree at Bristol University. The papers that he authored (along with Amos Tversky) on heuristics and biases provide a fascinating and ever-relevant insight into how humans make simple and predictable mistakes because of the way that their minds work; and, again because of the nature of human cognition, we generally don’t realise when we have made these errors of judgement; we will defend our incorrect way of seeing things because we are quite simply blind to our own biases.
Continue reading ‘Reading Fast and Slow’
Following on from my posts about mindfulness and willpower, I promised I would write something about diet. Specifically about how I have managed to go from being a bit of a fat bastard, to a svelte hunk. Well, I started writing that blog post, and it got longer and longer, and people started asking me when I would put it online, and I started to have doubts about parts of it, to want to wrap everything in big, fluffy disclaimers. As the post started clump into subheadings, and as the contents under each heading got longer, I decided to split it into a series of posts. I will start now, by giving a little background, a personal history of me and fat.
Continue reading ‘Fat’
Following on from the recent post on mindfulness, here’s another in my “self-help guru” (obviously I’m not) series. This time, I’m writing about willpower, based on the book Willpower: Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength (by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney) which I recently finished reading. I have some reservations about the book (see my Amazon review for details), but thought I’d share anyway, as it contains some very interesting findings which so far I have managed to put to good use.
Continue reading ‘Willpower’
A while ago, I posted a brief suggestion on how to be happier. Although I haven’t stuck religiously to my own advice (of finding some positives in each day), and there have been one or two times when my mood has dipped, life on the whole continues on an upwards trajectory. Particularly since Christmas I’ve felt fitter, healthier, happier and more productive. In the interests of sharing (and at the risk of painting myself as some sort of a self-help guru) I thought I’d list some techniques that I’ve been trying, and that are working for me. I will write separate posts on willpower and diet/exercise, but for now I will focus on the practice which I have found most useful: mindfulness.
Continue reading ‘Mindfulness’
Last night, I went for a cycle ride around the inner suburbs of Sheffield. On the way, I started tweeting about the everyday scenes I was seeing, and the fact that there were no riots, using the #noRiotsHere hashtag (I plucked the hashtag out of thin air: it turns out one of two people had used it earlier in the day, although not in Sheffield). You can see a collection of my evening’s cycling/noRiotHere tweets on Storify. Soon, other people started joining in, and by the time I got home #noRiotHere was trending in Sheffield.
A few people accused me of “trolling for riots” – most did it humorously, one or two seemed genuinely confused about what I was doing. So I’ll try to account for myself here…
Continue reading ‘No Riot Here’
Last year, I read the book 59 Seconds, by Professor Richard Wiseman. It’s wonderful – ostensibly the first “self-help” book underpinned by science. It’s packed full of tips on all sorts of topics – improving your self-confidence sorting out your love life, reducing stress, getting things done… in fact, it’s so full of handy hints that I did what I usually do: read them all with glee and then promptly forgot about all but a few.
One which sticks in my mind is the art of giving gratitude. This is a little like the “positive affirmations” beloved of other self-help books, but unlike vague and even counterproductive affirmations (“every day in every way, you are getting better and better and better”) it’s a specific and proven way of making oneself happier. The trick (established via a study by Robert A. Emmons and Michael E. McCulloch) is to regularly list things that you are grateful for. Not necessarily big things, just… anything: a beautiful sunset, the taste of pale ale, the love of a partner or parent. The reasoning is that we become habituated to the constants in our life (in the same way that, if you work in a bakery, you will come to blank out the smell of freshly-baked bread). By bringing these small positives to the front of mind, we see them afresh and learn to appreciate them more.
Continue reading ‘Happier’
I… nah, fuck it. Life’s too short.
In 1996, I was responsible for the “kiosk” in Diesel’s Covent Garden flagship store (a Mac running the Diesel website). I had to go into the store once a month to “fix” it.
Continue reading ‘Trash’